Policy

Krugman: Cap-and-Trade Opponents Are a Bunch of Beck-Listening Denialist Liars! Also, Drastically Altering the Way Americans Produce and Consume Energy Won't Cost Much

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Allow me to re-edit the lede of Paul Krugman's latest columny, an attempt to pre-emptively marginalize those who disagree with another sweeping federal proposal:

So, have you enjoyed the debate over health care reform? Have you been impressed by the civility of the discussion and the intellectual honesty of reform opponents supporters?

If so, you'll love the next big debate: the fight over climate change.

Boo!

Early on in the health care debate, you'll recall, Krugman posited that opponents were primarily motivated by the same "racial anxiety" that underpins the "'birther' movement," and thus should be treated with even more disdain than California Republicans. As always, removing people from the argument is easier than arguing with them.

Hence, opponents of Waxman-Markley either "still claim that there's no such thing as global warming, or at least that the evidence isn't yet conclusive," or "that doing anything to limit global warming would destroy the economy." Also, they probably like Glenn Beck, "who seems to be challenging Rush Limbaugh for the role of de facto leader of the G.O.P." (Someone apparently forgot to tell Krugman that Beck prefers Barack Obama to John McCain.) Therefore, "It's important…to understand that claims of immense economic damage from climate legislation are as bogus, in their own way, as climate-change denial." And finally, "the campaign against saving the planet rests mainly on lies."

It's telling that, as in the health care debate, Krugmanesque supporters of cap-and-trade–which, it's worth mentioning, has never worked–are eager to place the burden of proof for a massive policy overhaul on the shoulders of a broadcast shock-jock. If he was interested in engaging the best arguments against Waxman-Markley, he might start with the archive of Reason Science Correspondent Ron Bailey, who (unhelpfully!) can't be categorized under any of Krugman's caricatures.

Start with Bailey's "Cap-and-Trade Delusions: Proponents need to stop pretending cap-and-trade will cost nothing and create tons of jobs," proceed to "Energy Price Deceit: Congress tries to hide its cap-and-trade energy price increases," then for a main course tuck into Bailey's classic June 2009 cover package on alternative energy, which delves into (among many other things) the various past, current, and future prices of all the cleaner-energy technologies that Krugman et al are relying on without ever demonstrably studying.